Professor Aldert Piersma (1957) is a senior reproductive toxicology researcher at RIVM and a Professor by Special Appointment of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) at Utrecht University.

We can do better with less! We are definitely capable of doing better research with fewer laboratory animals. That is what I am looking for.

The central theme of his work consists of looking for ways to improve reproductive and developmental hazard and risk assessment while reducing the number of laboratory animals for testing toxic substances.

Aldert Piersma studied biology at Utrecht University, specialising in developmental biology, tumour immunology, and pharmacology. In 1985, he obtained a PhD in Medicine at Erasmus University Rotterdam with a thesis on the regulation of differentiation of stem cells for blood in mice.

After obtaining his PhD, Aldert worked at the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research, developing an in-vitro method for identifying teratogenic substances and their mechanisms of action.

In 1988, he came to work for RIVM as a reproductive toxicologist and head of the reproductive toxicology department. In 2007, he became a Professor by Special Appointment at IRAS. He divides his time between research, advice and education.

Aldert has, and has had, numerous activities in the field of reproductive toxicology. For example, he is a member of the Dutch Health Council (Gezondheidsraad) and associate editor of the Journal Reproductive Toxicology, he served as president of the European Teratology Society (ETS), and he organised the 2005 conference of the ETS. He is a member of various national and international committees. In 1987, he won the ETS prize and in 2007, he won the first Lef-in-het-lab-prijs (Guts in the lab prize) for his role in reducing the use of laboratory animals for reproductive toxicology research

Among other things, his current research is focusing on alternatives for animal experiments, application of transcriptomics and proteomics, and the development of integrated testing strategies for assessing reproductive toxicity of substances for REACH. 

Areas of expertise

  • Reproductive toxicology
  • Prevention of congenital abnormalities
  • Alternatives for animal experiments
  • Embryology
  • Prevention of infertility
  • Test strategies and risk assessment